Angela Allen Celebrates Her 10-Year Anniversary
Business operations during the four months before Angela Allen joined the growing Home Instead franchise in Mount Airy, North Carolina, were hectic at times. First-time Home Instead Owner Van Lankford was thrilled to bring Angela aboard as the Administrative Assistant on Sept. 6, 2011, when she started as a part-time employee. After more than six years as the Office Manager, Angela celebrates her 10-year anniversary with the award-winning Home Instead office. Her journey with Home Instead mirrors the day-by-day growth of the franchise.
When Van opened his office, he did so from the ground up. In those days, Van was responsible for everything. Van said, “I remember the day I opened was May 16, 2011. I had been working with another Home Instead owner at the time, and we had been quietly working in Surry County for two months. We secured office space, and I hired some CAREGivers a few weeks before I opened. On the first official day, I trained four CAREGivers. That was on a Monday and next day, I began marketing our Home Instead services. In those early days, I did it all … marketing, recruiting and CAREGiver training, plus all the paperwork. I put in some long days.”
It was six weeks before Van recruited his first client. A couple of weeks later, a second client asked for services and then a third. In August, the new franchise took on its first 24/7 client. By late summer, business was really growing. “My wife Ann was a career teacher. During her 2011 summer break, she came to the office with me, answered the phone and did paperwork. She was a big help, since I spent most of my time in the community in a marketing role,” Van said. However, Ann would return to teaching in August. As part of his marketing efforts, Van joined a networking group consisting of many senior health-care providers in Surry and Stokes Counties. “During each meeting, we received the opportunity to express one need we had in our office,” Van said. “When my turn came, I told the group, ‘I need office help.’ ”
After the meeting, Shelia Jones, who was the Mountain Valley Hospice development director, pulled Van aside and said she knew the person Van needed. It was her niece, Angela Allen. Later that week, Van interviewed Angela. “I knew there was something special about Angela the first time I met her. I was impressed with her demeanor and the way she carried herself in the interview. I also remember how eager she was to work for Home Instead,” Van recalled.
In the interview, Van learned Angela had home-care experience while working for another agency in Mount Airy. Angela, her husband, and daughter had planned to move out of town, so Angela quit her job and trained her replacement. Then the move fell through. “I firmly believe in God’s timing,” Van said, “and there is no doubt in my mind Angela was a godsend to this young business.”
When Angela began with Home Instead on the day after Labor Day in 2011, she was working 15 to 20 hours a week. Van said, “I told Angela that, since we were a young business, we could only afford to pay her part time. I also told her that, as our business grew, so would her role grow … and it did.” With her previous home-care experience, Angela had a shallow learning curve and quickly learned “The Home Instead Way.” As time went on, Van gave her more and more responsibility. Angela has served as Staff Coordinator, CAREGiver Recruiter and Trainer, and she took the after-hours on-call phone. By June 2012, Angela was a full-time employee. “Angela has done every job in the office, except for the one job for which she was not qualified, staff nurse,” Van said.
Together, Van, Angela and two other key players who came the following year, Kim Atkins-Bruner and Sharon Bledsoe, led the Home Instead office as it became one of the top hours-per-senior producers in the Home Instead franchise network of more than 1,200 franchises.
Before joining Home Instead, Angela had worked at another local in-home care agency for three years, so she has totaled close to 13 years of in-home care experience. Explaining every detail of what Angela does as the Office Manager would be a feat. Angela said, “I oversee the daily operations and offer assistance to our team. I recently stepped into the role of helping ‘onboard’ new CAREGivers and creating more communication between all CAREGivers. I see a need, and it’s very important to let our CAREGivers know how important they are to us and their clients.”
Asked to put her 10th anniversary in perspective, Angela explained, “It is definitely a milestone for sure. I feel a sense of accomplishment because you don’t see many people staying with the same employer for more than two to five years, much less 10 years. But you are seeing it here at Home Instead. We have had some of our CAREGivers coming up on eight to nine years. I attribute that to the tools Home Instead gives us to make great CAREGivers and the leadership of Van and Ann. I love my job and what it stands for.”
Working at a start-up, no matter the profession, can be nerve-racking. But Angela, who is not easily flustered, doesn’t recall those kinds of feelings. “From the beginning, I could see the business taking off. Each day got better and better. A bad day didn’t exist. The Home Instead network had the tools for us to grow and succeed. Van grew into his position as franchise owner very well, just as I thought he would. Early on, I decided I needed to stay where it felt right. Van and Ann are very awesome people with whom to work. They made me feel as if I had the freedom to do what I could to help the franchise succeed,” Angela said.
Further, Angela emphasized, there is a feeling of family. In a healthy, close-knit work environment of respect and compassion, Angela said, family comes first. “I love my co-workers. We are a family here. Van is very empathetic,” she said.
Asked if there’s a possibility of a 20th anniversary, Angela said, “Without a doubt. I am very appreciative of the opportunities I’ve received here.” And Angela was asked about the idea of being a Home Instead franchise owner. She replied, “If it ever came up, what an opportunity it would be! It has crossed my mind, but it’s not a goal at this time.”
Angela and her husband Justin live in Mount Airy with their teenage daughter Isabella. Angela said, “Isabella keeps us on our toes playing two sports and is considering Travel Volleyball. We have two cats, Lucy and Louise (who run the house). I enjoy baking for my friends, family and co-workers. I love interior design and keeping up with the ever-changing home trends. I’m also an online reseller. Selling secondhand has become a passion of mine. Giving items a new life and a new home, along with making a positive impact on the environment, are just a handful of reasons I love to resell.”
Angela’s personal credo is: “Think positive, and positive things will happen.”